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Epistle of ROAC to ROCOR/ROCA

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  • theryans@best.com
    Greetings in the Lord, As a {God willing} soon to be member of the Holy Orthodox Church in North America who lives in a community in San Francisco surrounded
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 5, 2000
    • 0 Attachment
      Greetings in the Lord,
      As a {God willing} soon to be member of the Holy Orthodox Church in
      North America
      who lives in a community in San Francisco surrounded by friends who
      are about to join SCOBA/ World Orthodox jurisdictions, I
      have recently been asked many times 'Why all the divisions in the Old
      Calendarists ?This just proves you are in schism !'After
      replying w/ the obvious pointing out the overlapping and
      uncannonical nature of SCOBA. I can only say that I hear { and pray
      for}
      news that there is dialouge between some groups of traditionalist
      Hierarchs in Greece.
      With these things on my mind I came across this post which revealed a
      [seemingly large ] group whose eccliosology seems
      identical to our own . I am hoping some one can fill me in on the
      origin of this group and the status of the communities of the
      former Bishop Gury, and wether dialouge has been attempted or
      established w/ ROAC .I went ahead and appended the epistle
      which to my mind seems an excellent summary of events in the Russian
      Church over the last 80 + years, omitting only the
      departure of our clergy in the late 80's ' fordanger of falling
      under our own Anathema' as the I think the epistle puts it.

      In Christ ,
      David






      Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2000 09:51:47 +0400
      Reply-To: Orthodox Christianity <ORTHODOX@...>
      Sender: Orthodox Christianity <ORTHODOX@...>
      From: Olga Mitrenina <olga@...>
      Subject: Epistle of ROAC Synod to ROCA Sobor - part I/2
      Content-Type: text/plain; charset="koi8-r"

      EPISTLE OF THE HIERARCHICAL SYNOD OF THE RUSSIAN (ROSSIJSKOJ) ORTHODOX
      CHURCH
      TO THE HIERARCHICAL COUNCIL OF THE RUSSIAN (RUSSKOJ) ORTHODOX CHURCH
      ABROAD

      21 August / September 3, 2000. No. 70.

      Your Eminence, honourable Archpastors - members of the
      Hierarchical
      Council, and also clergy and children and of the Russian Orthodox
      Church
      Abroad!

      The Hierarchical Council of the Church Abroad opens at a time
      when, on
      the one hand, the whole world is being shaken by events, each more
      terrible
      than the one before - catastrophes, elemental disasters, wars: On the
      other
      hand, the whole world is seized by a certain fever for unification:
      this is
      observable not only in the political life of the world, but also in
      its
      religious life. On the one hand, endless disputes, on the other - a
      haste to
      unify everyone and everything: states with states, churches with
      churches,
      religions with religions:

      The fever for unification that embraces the earthly globe
      manifests
      itself in various external forms - sometimes political, sometimes
      economic,
      and sometimes also in an ecclesiastical-ecumenical form - but its
      profound
      essence remains unchangingly the same:. And in this the zealots of
      unification place definite hopes on the hierarchs of the ROCA.

      But can the Orthodox Church surrender to this spirit of the
      times -
      that
      Church which is unshakably "built on the foundation of the apostles
      and
      prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone" (Ephesians
      2.20)?

      "Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I
      preached to
      you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also
      you are
      saved", says the holy Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Corinthians
      (I
      Corinthians 15.1-2). In another epistle, to the Galatians, he says:
      "But
      even
      if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel that what we
      have
      preached to you, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1.8). But to those
      who have
      preserved the holy gospel there is the promise of being comforted:
      "by the
      mutual faith both of you and of me" (Romans 1.12).

      If we open the Acts of the Holy Ecumenical Councils, we see that
      the
      holy builders of the Church struggled for nothing more than for the
      preservation and support in its unchanging form of the faith of the
      fathers.
      "We pray you that you keep the faith of the fathers unchanged". "We
      beseech
      you to investigate the novelty that has been introduced against the
      former
      faith" - this is how the zealots of the Orthodox Faith addressed the
      Holy
      Councils. And, having investigated the novelty, and rejected the
      innovations,
      and confirmed the Dogmas of Orthodoxy unshaken, the Holy Fathers
      exclaimed:
      "Yes, this is the faith of the fathers! This is how we all believe!"

      If we open the works of the Russian teachers of the faith that
      are
      closer to us, we see the same care first of all for keeping the
      patristic
      teaching unchanged. "Human teachings all strive for that which is
      new, they
      grow, they develop: Thus is has become a law: forward, forward! But in
      regard
      to our faith it was said from on high: stand: remain unmoved. All that
      remains for us to do is to be confirmed and to confirm others,"
      appealed the
      noted holy hierarch of the Vladimir lands Theophan, the Vishensky
      recluse.
      ":
      We have to look over all that has passed in order to see whether the
      order
      of
      teachings that was outlined for us has in any way been disturbed."
      ("On
      Orthodoxy with warnings against sins against it," Sermons of Bishop
      Theophan,
      Moscow, 1991. From his sermons to the flocks of Tambov and Vladimir).

      In 1918 "he who restrains" was taken away - and this had fateful
      consequences not only for Russia, but also for the whole world.
      Already
      within two years of the murder of the holy Martyr Tsar Nicholas II,
      in 1920,
      the Constantinopolitan Patriarchate in the person of the Locum Tenens
      of the
      Patriarchal Throne, Metropolitan Dorotheus of Prussa, issued an
      encyclical
      which encroached on the very foundations of Orthodoxy. Heretical
      communities
      that have been separated by the Orthodox Church from Her communion
      were
      declared to be "churches" having equal rights with her, and Orthodoxy
      was
      given the aim of the speediest possible unification with all the
      apostates.

      In contrast to this treacherous document, which marked the
      beginning of
      the global apostasy of "World Orthodoxy", in the same year of 1920
      the holy
      Patriarch Tikhon together with the Holy Synod and the Higher Church
      Council -
      that is, undoubtedly with the whole fullness of the Central
      Ecclesiastical
      authorities of the Russian Church - made a most important resolution,
      Ukaz
      no. 362 of 7/20 November, 1920, on the self-definition of dioceses in
      conditions of possible persecution. The other name for this Ukaz -
      the Ukaz
      on decentralization - underlines the fact that the aim of the
      resolution of
      the Russian Ecclesiastical Authorities was contradictory to the aim
      of the
      encyclical of the Ecumenical throne, which called for the
      centralization of
      all confessions of faith.

      From now on the broad path and all conditions for unification
      were
      created only for the unfaithful: but for those faithful to Christ a
      violent
      disunion lay in store: the two parts of the Russian Church were
      disunited:
      the one found itself exiled from its native land, while the other was
      driven
      into the catacombs by persecutions unprecedented in their ferocity.
      But in
      these terrible years the Church of Russia did not cease to constitute
      one
      spiritual whole.

      The force enabling both parts of the Russian Church to hold out
      and
      preserve Their unity in all temptations, especially in the
      approaching most
      terrible period - the epoch of the sergianist schism - was their
      unanimous
      confession of the faith of the fathers.

      "Schism is not antiquity, but novelty", pointed out Theophan the
      Recluse. This remarkable definition has a universal character and
      allows
      always accurately to establish the one who is truly guilty of schism.

      By his treacherous Declaration of 1927 Metropolitan Sergius
      (Stragorodsky) opened wide the gates of the Church for renovationism.
      It
      consisted in the undermining of the very meaning of the existence of
      the
      Church on earth - not as the pillar and ground of the truth and of
      eternal
      Authority, but as the weapon of earthly power.

      Both parts of the Russian Church - the part in Russia, and the
      part
      Abroad - were completely unanimous in their attitude to the
      Declaration of
      1927. The Hierarchical Synod of the Church Abroad, headed by his
      Beatitude
      Metropolitan Anthony, broke communion with the schismatic
      metropolitan and
      his synod. The bishops in the homeland that were faithful to the
      Russian
      Church did the same. The essence of the sergianist schism was very
      accurately
      expressed by New Martyr Bishop Victor (Ostrovidov), when he called
      Sergius
      an
      anti-ecclesiastical heretic. The faithful children of the Russian
      Church did
      not visit the sergianist churches, they justly made no distinction
      between
      sergianists and renovationists. "We shall not go to renovationism,"
      said the
      Orthodox. Communications were lost with Metropolitan Peter
      (Polyansky), the
      lawful head of the Russian Church, who was in prison, and the
      treachery of
      his Deputy forced the Church, both in the Homeland and abroad, to be
      ruled
      in
      its canonical existence by Ukaz no. 362 of the holy Patriarch Tikhon
      concerning the self-definition of dioceses. With the death of
      Metropolitan
      Peter (Polyansky), the Central or Supreme Authority of the Russian
      Church
      ceased even its nominal existence. Such an eventuality was foreseen
      by Ukaz
      no. 362, which contained detailed recommendations for the ordering of
      the
      Church which would avoid schism in this event. But through the
      efforts of
      Metropolitan Sergius, a dual authority was introduced, and then a
      false
      patriarchate (a common phenomenon, alas, in Church history during the
      periods
      when heresy was dominant).

      From now on the Russian Church trod its path in the conditions
      of the
      absence of Central (Supreme) Ecclesiastical Authority. When the last
      Orthodox
      churches were closed in Russia in the 1930s, the Russian Church
      finally
      departed into the catacombs, preserving communion in prayer with Her
      half
      that was abroad and commemorating Her First Hierarchs Metropolitans
      Anthony,
      Anastasy and Philaret. Following the spirit and aim of the Ukaz no.
      362 of
      the holy Patriarch Tikhon of 7/20 November, 1920 kept the Orthodox
      Church
      reliably free of false strivings for unification.

      This was not the case with the sergianist church - it grew
      strongly
      into
      what is now commonly called "official world orthodoxy". The latter
      was also
      ruled by a document of 1920, but the document of an opposite tendency
      - the
      ecumenical encyclical of the Locum Tenens of the Ecumenical Throne
      Dorotheus.
      "World Orthodoxy" became an inalienable part of the ecumenical
      movement and
      dragged the sergianist church after it into the abyss. Into the gates
      opened
      by Metropolitan Sergius there now poured without the slightest
      resistance
      the
      false teachings by which the enemy of human salvation has, in the
      course of
      the whole of his struggle with the Church, and especially in the 20th
      century, undermined the teaching of Christ.

      The sergianist church accepted all the most destructive
      innovations of
      the 20th century - both communism, and ecumenism, by which it clearly
      marked
      its complete attachment to the most terrible schism that has ever
      tormented
      the Universal Church.

      (end of part I)Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2000 09:53:15 +0400
      Reply-To: Orthodox Christianity <ORTHODOX@...>
      Sender: Orthodox Christianity <ORTHODOX@...>
      From: Olga Mitrenina <olga@...>
      Subject: Epistle of ROAC Synod to ROCA Sobor - part 2/2


      If Metropolitan Sergius, as the holy new martyrs pointed out, had
      "distorted the dogmatic face of the Church", then under his
      successors we
      must speak no longer of distortion, but of a complete overthrow of
      the Holy
      Dogmas, and first of all - of the Dogma of the Church as being one
      and only
      one. In consequence of this trampling on the Holy Dogmas there
      appeared
      crying violations of the Holy Canons - for example, the categorical
      ban on
      joint prayers with the heterodox under threat of being deprived of
      one's
      rank
      and expelled from the Church.

      Is it necessary to cite examples of the excesses of the
      ecumenists,
      which are the more blasphemous in that they have been committed in
      the name
      of Christ? In 1983 those abroad had the opportunity of seeing on
      television
      the raising of a pagan idol by delegates of the Fourth Assembly of
      the World
      Council of Churches in Vancouver, among whom were representatives of
      the
      Moscow Patriarchate, while in Russia the "Journal of the Moscow
      Patriarchate"
      in its account of this ecumenical Assembly was not ashamed to mention
      this
      hideous act in the most positive terms.

      After the ecumenical Assembly in Vancouver the Russian Church
      Abroad,
      headed by the holy Hierarch Philaret, in its Council in Mansonville
      in 1983
      delivered ecumenism to anathema.

      With the fall of the "iron curtain", there finally appeared the
      opportunity for the forcibly divided parts of the Russian Orthodox
      Church to
      unite. But it turned out that in the years that had passed since the
      death
      of
      the holy Hierarch Philaret (1985), too much had changed in the Church
      Abroad
      - and a significant part of Her was now under threat of falling under
      their
      own anathema.

      The concelebrations of clergy and even bishops of the Church
      Abroad
      with
      the clergy and episcopate of the ecumenist Orthodox Churches - which
      was to
      have ceased after the Mansonville council of 1983 - again became a
      commonplace phenomenon. The concelebrations of the majority of the
      hierarchs
      of the Church Abroad, not to speak of the other clergy, with the
      clergy of
      the ecumenical Serbian patriarchate became a real scourge. And these
      concelebrations took place in spite of the fact that this patriarchate
      almost
      exceeded the Soviet sergianists in ecumenical enthusiasm, while her
      relationships with her local communists was just as submissive as was
      that
      of
      her Soviet "sister". These concelebrations have not ceased even now,
      after
      the recent epistle of the Serbian patriarch to his Muscovite brother,
      in
      which he affirms that his patriarchate no longer has communion in
      prayer
      with
      the ROCA.

      It was also with a heavy feeling of perplexity that we observed
      the
      hasty proclamation, in the Hierarchical Council of the ROCA that took
      place
      in 1994, that the ecclesiology of Metropolitan Cyprian of Fili and
      Orope was
      identical to the ecclesiology of the Church Abroad. We cannot accept
      as
      Orthodox the basic position of this ecclesiology - that the saving
      grace of
      the sacraments can supposedly be guaranteed to abide in heretical
      communities, albeit only up to their conciliar condemnation. One of
      the
      Greek
      metropolitans with his followers calls the hierarchs of "World
      Orthodoxy"
      the
      "sick" members of one and the same Body of Christ - His True Church.
      One
      branch is healthy, the other sick. We understand that the
      ecclesiological
      resolution of the Council of 1994 is a natural step further downwards
      after
      the Nativity Epistle of 1986, which was distributed under the
      signature of
      Metropolitan Vitaly, in which the meaning of the anathema against
      ecumenism
      accepted in 1983 was restricted, against all logic, to "members of our
      Church
      (that is, the Church Abroad)" - as if an anathema applies, not to a
      heretic,
      but to a jurisdiction! But we also saw, and we see to the present
      day, that
      there are enough people in the Church Abroad who understand the whole
      destructiveness of the resolutions, and that these people are trying
      to
      correct the mistake of the Hierarchical Council in 1994.

      But of course that which we perceive with the greatest heaviness
      is the
      ever-increasing tendency of the Church Abroad towards union with the
      Moscow
      Patriarchate. It is worthy of note that the very possibility of
      negotiations
      with her was sanctioned in principle by the same Council of the ROCA
      in 1994
      which recognized the crypto-ecumenist ecclesiology of Metropolitan
      Cyprian.

      At a time when the Moscow Patriarchate was preoccupied with
      unity with
      the Catholics (the Balamand unia of 1993 - this document has not been
      disavowed: on the contrary, certain of its positions have been widely
      realized in life) and with the Monophysites (the Chambesy union of
      1990;
      within the bounds of the programme outlined in it the Moscow
      Patriarchate is
      now getting very close to the Armenian monophysite church), certain
      hierarchs
      of the Church Abroad have been insistently seeking to get closer to
      the
      Moscow Patriarchate - even in spite of the fact that the patriarchate
      takes
      less and less account of the very existence of the Church Abroad,
      exappropriating her property now not only in Russia, but also abroad.
      This
      has delivered a huge blow to the dignity of the Church Abroad and Her
      hierarchy even in the eyes of "outsiders". But still sadder is the
      fact that
      this witnesses to the apostasy of part of the hierarchs of the ROCA
      from the
      path bequeathed to Her by the first-hierarchs Metropolitans Anthony,
      Anastasy
      and Philaret - that is, to their apostasy from Orthodoxy.

      If the other, healthy part of the ROCA does not find within
      itself the
      strength to halt the strivings of the apostates, then the final
      degeneration
      of the ROCA into a false ecclesiastical organization and Her
      subsequent
      dissolution in the ecumenical "great and spacious sea" (Psalm 103.27)
      of
      "World Orthodoxy" will become a burning question in the nearest
      future.

      In Russia the stand-off between the Church Abroad and "World
      Orthodoxy"
      in the person of the MP has taken a particularly acute form, and
      therefore
      the Russian parishes of the ROCA did not have the possibility of
      waiting
      many
      years until the hierarchs abroad re-established Church discipline and
      were
      again established on the path of the holy Hierarch Philaret. This was
      the
      cause of the break in eucharistic communion between the Russian
      [Rossijskoj]
      Orthodox Church and the Hierarchical Synod of the ROCA which took
      place in
      1995. Unfortunately, our actions at that time did not meet with
      understanding
      on the part of the clerical leadership of the ROCA, which, contrary
      to the
      spirit and the letter of Ukaz no. 362 and its own evident inability to
      restrain the tendencies towards apostasy from the faith in the
      dioceses
      abroad, began to insist on his own full right to realize supreme
      ecclesiastical authority in Russia.

      The five years that have passed since then have shown whether or
      not we
      were right in our fears.

      Our position remains: faithfulness to the dogmas and holy canons
      of the
      Orthodox Church and, moreover, the preservation of the Orthodox Faith
      without
      contamination from the ecumenical filth of "World Orthodoxy" and its
      organic
      part - the Moscow Patriarchate. It was on this path that Her
      ever-memorable
      first-hierarch, the holy Philaret, left the Russian Church Abroad for
      us,
      his
      successors, and this position of ours is similar to that of the
      majority of
      Old Calendarist Greek hierarchs and their flock. We have no "separate"
      claims
      in relation to the Moscow Patriarchate: it is no more than a part of
      the
      global and now already ecumenical sergianism, which with the same
      zeal that
      Metropolitan Sergius once served Stalin now serves the New World
      Order and
      the coming unification of everyone and everything. It is in no way
      worse or
      better than some Serbian or Constantinopolitan patriarchate. With all
      these
      ecumenical jurisdictions the Russian Orthodox Church broke canonical
      communion under the holy Hierarch Philaret.

      If you, your Graces, honourable Archbishops, clergy and laymen,
      choose
      to return to the faith of the fathers - the holy fathers of Universal
      Orthodoxy and the fathers of our Church Abroad - then we shall be
      together
      again. Unity of canonical communion will be quickly restored between
      us, as
      soon as unity of faith is restored.

      But if it is not - if within the Church Abroad there is not
      found the
      strength to stop Her slide into the quagmire of "World Orthodoxy",
      then the
      end is inevitable: the Moscow Patriarchate will suck up into itself
      her
      remains scattered around the world, and the muddy waters of ecumenism
      will
      close above Her head forever.

      May this not be!

      The means of salvation are the same for all times: to hear and
      to carry
      out, amidst the wavering, unstable elements of the world, the
      everlasting
      voice of the true Mother Church uttered from on high: As you have
      believed -
      "in that stand and be saved" (I Corinthians 15.1).

      + Valentine, Archbishop of Suzdal and Vladimir,
      President of the Hierarchical Synod of the Russian [Rossijskoj]
      Orthodox
      Church
      + Theodore, Bishop of Borisovskoye and Sanino
      + Seraphim, Bishop of Sukhumi and Abkhazia
      + Victor, Bishop of Daugavpilis and Latvia
      + Hilarion, Bishop of Sukhodolsk
      + Anthony, Bishop of Yaransk
      Protopriest Andrew Osetrov, Secretary of the Hierarchical Synod

      at LISTSERV.INDIANA.EDU.
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